Storia del mais

HISTORY OF CORN

origini-mais

BEFORE AND AFTER THE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA

A plant known and already cultivated throughout Central America, especially by the Mayans who used the dried or boiled corn kernels, and who first realized the flour, coking it just as we do today with the polenta.

Corn has been known for thousands of years in some areas of Mexico, it was the staple food of Maya and was cultivated not only in fields but also in the valleys and on rocky slopes. It was prepared and consumed in many different ways, such as tortillas or tamales and  for the preparation of “atole”, a hot drink. 
Essential to the survival of the Mesoamerican civilizations, maize had a leading role also in mythology, religion and ritual ceremonies. Aztecs, Mayans and Incas were giving thousands of tons of corn to the Emperor Montezuma.

It is not strange that the fourth of eighteen months of the ancient Aztec calendar is devoted to corn. Religious rites related to the various phases of its planting, harvesting and roasting testify the importance that the gold grains were having in the eating habits of these ancient peoples. To which we could add the semi-nomadic tribes of North and SouthAmerica, also the Chileans and Argentines and some Caribbean populations.

Columbus was thus the first  to import corn in Europe.

Although the writings of some historians say that the Scandinavian sailors were the first to load corn on their vessels during long transoceanic explorations. From America to Europe the leap of corn in our continent was very rapid.

Already in 1525 its use had spread to Spain and Portugal. In Italy the area of Campania was the first to adopt this type of cultivation, then followed by Veneto and Emilia.

Maize entered the Italian food tradition giving rise to what is usually called "the polenta civilization."

Maize, in the rural tradition of not long time ago, was not only a valuable food but about the only thing there was to eat.

The good corn has a name: vitreous endosperm.
This part is about 40% of the caryopsis (grain corn) and is the source of energy and protein.

Only this 40% is used to take shape and flavor in your table, from breakfast to dinner!

MORE INFORMATION
ON THE CORN PLANT

Corn is a plant with an erect stem that reaches up to three meters and a diameter ranging from 2 to 8 cm. Broad leale and two types of flowers: the male flowers that form the characteristic shape of the plume on top of the plant and the female inflorescences collected in what we call cobs, that depart from the lower leaves, wrapped in large bracts from which emerge stigmas of various colors. The ears are large, the kernels are very close together, rolled, mostly yellow in color, but depending on the variety, including whites, reds and blacks.

There are several types of corn: one type with kernels very tender, very rich in starch, is much used for feeding livestock. Another type with small grains is suitable for making popcorn. The type of corn that we use for food has hard grains, particularly suitable to be ground. Resulting in excellent flour for polenta after careful processing.

 
mais-nazionale
Iscrizione a
newsletter